What is a Policy Officer?
Policy Officers create and advise on policies pertaining to the governing norms and principles. Policy Officers are also known as policy analysts and policy advisers.
A policy is a declaration of intent that outlines the guiding principles that guide what we do and what people may anticipate. A Policy Officer’s job is to provide policies and supporting information to help colleagues on the front lines confidently provide services to clients. A Policy Officer provides timely, accurate and persuasive advice, underpinned by analysis, contextual awareness and stakeholder consultation.
Policy Officers frequently collaborate on specific initiatives with Senior Officers, elected members, and Chief Executives. They also assist Policy Managers in developing partnerships with other business or regional teams, opinion leaders, and the government. Policy Officers can also be found analysing government work for campaign organisations, assisting with media campaigns for public affairs consultancies, or conducting research for MPs/MSPs.
Work at the core of Policy is always changing, so policy experts must be proactive, enthusiastic, and at ease in a fast-paced and dynamic setting. Because you will be dealing with a diverse set of stakeholders, it is critical that you have the ability to build excellent working connections with others.
Your responsibilities as a Policy Officer may vary according to the sector that you work in, but may include the following:
- Conducting research on social, economic, and industry trends
- Writing reports and briefing papers
- Analysing and evaluating policy-related issues
- Reviewing existing policies to identify out-of-date or incorrect information
- Assisting in the formulation and implementation of policies
- Providing high-quality policy advice
- Advising on recommended changes to existing policies.
- Creating and implementing project and consultation strategies
- Ensuring that projects are completed on schedule
- Maintaining computerised records and policy documents up to date
The salary range for Policy Officers can vary significantly based on a variety of crucial aspects, including schooling, credentials, supplementary talents, and the length of time you've been working in a given field. Starting pay in the charity sector is often lower than in the central government or the commercial sector. The national average salary for a Policy Officer in the UK is £36,932, ranging from £26,000 to £53,000.
Working hours and work location
Your working hours will most likely correspond to a typical work week from 9 am to 5pm. Some jobs may require you to work longer or more irregular hours, as well as evenings and weekends. Attending meetings or events, for example, or meeting deadlines in a high-profile or fast-moving policy field. A Policy Officer’s job is primarily office-based, with some travel to meetings, events, and conferences.
Most public and charitable organisations offer some form of flexible working, such as part-time jobs, flexible hours, or job sharing. The specifics of your agreements will be determined by your company and function.
Sectors that employ Policy Officers include:
- Government (local and central)
- Public sector
- Private sector
- Think tanks
What to expect
Policy Officers get feedback from residents, benchmark with other organisations, investigate best practices, confer with colleagues, and do impact evaluations. They will then create the policy, talk with residents and employees, obtain approval, and convey modifications. Policy Officers may also provide assistance to top managers who wish to build their own policies. They may create processes, templates, and supporting papers in specific situations. Policy Officers may also be active in external research, recognising major developments, and ensuring that organisational policies are up to date.
One of the nicest aspects of working in policy is that no two days are the same. You may be investigating the impact of affordable rent and establishing a new allocations policy one day and engaging with locals the next about parking adjustments. It’s an excellent approach to learning how a business operates and exerting influence at all levels.
Not all policies are social or public in nature. The operational policy might be as significant for housing organisations. Residents are concerned about parking, dogs, and pests, and resolving these concerns via good legislation is as crucial as it is difficult.
As a Policy Officer, you should always keep your audience in mind: resident groups, staff, board members, councils, funders, and regulators. You may not encounter all of these groups as a Policy Officer, but you will need a thorough grasp of each of them to guarantee your policy meets relevant issues.
There are no formal educational prerequisites for becoming a Policy Officer, however, graduates interested in pursuing this job should have a thorough grasp of multi-level democracy, public policy in the UK (and elsewhere), and how public policy is developed.
A relevant degree is preferred, and the majority of graduates joining this industry will require an undergraduate degree or postgraduate education in a related subject area, such as:
must have skills:
Some of the skills that you will have to possess or build towards in order to become a Policy Officer include:
- Advanced and persuasive written and verbal communication skills
- Comprehensive research, interpretation and critical analysis skills
- Ability to successfully coordinate, advocate and negotiate
- Ability to establish and maintain strong and broad stakeholder relationships
- Deep understanding of, and ability to apply environmental context, data and legislation
- Ability to work quickly under pressure, often according to complex rules and procedures
The most typical way to enter the field of Policy Profession is to apply directly for policy positions in Civil Service Jobs.
If you’re seeking a structured development programme to complement your junior responsibilities in the Policy Profession, the level 4 Policy Officer Apprenticeship Standard and/or the Fast Stream Generalist Scheme may be of interest. You could also be able to find work experience or an internship at a local municipality or a charity.
You might enrol in specialised training in subjects like:
- Policy communications- these include authoring briefings and submissions, news releases, or speeches.
- Quantitative or qualitative research or analysis.
- Legislative or parliamentary processes, such as bill training.
Most graduate programmes mix official education with real-world experience. Through real-world experience, in addition to working on policies, you’ll gain expertise in people and project management, change management, and financial and commercial awareness. Keep an eye out for the newest apprenticeship positions on Civil Service Jobs, and be sure to sign up for job notifications so you don’t miss out when applications for the apprenticeship open in specific departments. Sign up for housing newsletters, closely monitor all news coverage, and read the newest think tank papers to ensure you’re constantly up to date on problems affecting the industry.
Many Policy Officers begin their careers as Housing Officers or in customer service centres.
Internal secondments, talent identification, and succession planning processes can assist you to move from these jobs to other areas of the organisation, including policy. Employment of Policy Officers is driven by the changing structure, priorities and expansion of existing policies.
You might decide to go on working in your field of policy, rising to the position of Senior Policy Officer or advisor and gaining subject knowledge. Since there is mobility in the industry, relocating to a bigger or more powerful department or organisation might help you advance in your current position.
If you want to continue working on independent research projects and building expertise, the best development route is to take a position with nonprofits or think tanks. In this case, you would typically be in charge of many work programmes and participate in the strategic management and direction of the organisation.
Your selected area of expertise continued professional growth, and adherence to the policy will enable you to get a position as a Senior Policy Officer. In this position, you have the chance to oversee a group of senior Policy Officers and assign responsibilities across a wide range of departments and policies. Policy Officers in this position offer guidance on very sensitive and difficult policy issues that support the department’s and stakeholders’ strategic policy direction.
From there, you can advance to more senior positions like Head of Policy, where you would oversee a whole division and be in charge of corporate contracts and strategic planning. This position allows you to hone your communication abilities, which makes it the ideal preparation for a side step into another industry like public affairs, marketing, or communications.
This is a full-time program provided at the University of the West of Scotland’s London Campus, in the heart of the UK’s economic core. Students interested in a career in Public Policy will benefit from the one-year program, as it will prepare them for work in public and third-sector organisations. This class combines social science and communication.
This two years and eight months long full-time degree is offered by the University of the West of Scotland London, and students can select from a range of start dates. Throughout their studies, students at UWS London have access to industry experts, guest lecturers, and seasoned professionals. The fact that this programme is offered on the London Campus, in the heart of the United Kingdom, allows students to be active within the UKs economic centre.